Chicago marathon, Abel Kirui, Zersenay Tadese, Dennis Kimetto, Florence Kiplagat, Eliud Kipchoge, Bernard Kipyego
ATHLETICS

Chicago marathon: Kenyans Abel Kirui, Florence Kiplagat set to defend titles

Chicago marathon champions Abel Kirui and Florence Kiplagat have been included in this year’s race set for October.

The two Kenyan athletes won last year’s race and will be on the starting line up to defend their titles on the American soil.

Chicago marathon, Abel Kirui, Zersenay Tadese, Dennis Kimetto, Florence Kiplagat, Eliud Kipchoge, Bernard Kipyego
Florence Kiplagat in her home in Iten

Kirui, the 2009 and 2011 IAAF world marathon champion said his focus is to defend the title with lower time to set his focus on virgin London marathon in April next year.

The 2012 Olympic marathon silver medalist said he wants to run 2:03 in Chicago race and set course record or be next to world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto who ran 2:03.45 in 2013 before setting a world record a year later in Berlin at 2:02.57.

Chicago marathon, Abel Kirui, Zersenay Tadese, Dennis Kimetto, Florence Kiplagat, Eliud Kipchoge, Bernard Kipyego
DENNIS KIMETTO IN RED FOLLOWING LIVE COVERAGE OF VARIOUS MARATHONS IN ELDORET

After Thursday morning run of 40km in Kaptagat, Kirui said he was optimistic of winning the race.

“This time, I will employ different strategy to ensure that I defend my title. It was my first time to win a race in the American soil and I will have to ensure I do better than that,” said Kirui.

The Nandi born runner won last year’s Chicago, one of the World major marathons (WMM) timing 2:11.23 but that has not satisfied him as he plans to lower that time to 2:03.

“My plans and strategy is to lower my time and target next year’s London marathon that I have been yearning to compete in.  I want our Kenyan flag to rise higher in both races,” added the 2009 and 2011 IAAF world marathon champion held in Berlin and Daegu respectively.

The 2012 Olympic marathon silver medalist will face off with world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto, world half marathon record holder Zersenay Tadese.

Kimetto ran the fastest time, running the course record in 2013 clocking 2:03.45 where organizers did not award him the world record by then.

But Kirui said Kimetto will not hinder his title defence though he has been out for a long time preparing for the races.

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